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STRAIGHT FROM D’STRAIT

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PPA-PTB operation needs a flexible sound management system
By PERRY S. LAHAMAN

Mang Pandoy sometimes travels and hitchrides on motorized small pumpboat from the island of Basilan to Zamboanga City. More often than not, he returns to Basilan on board ferry vessel plying Basilan-Zamboanga City route and vice versa.

As outbound passenger from the port of Zamboanga, Mang Pandoy before boarding ferry vessel, has to pass through the passenger terminal building and pay Philippine Ports Authority the prescribed P11.00 terminal fee sans the enjoyment of senior citizen benefit in discount of travel fare of 20%.

The experience of Mang Pandoy is not uncommon to other senior citizens who do not enjoy this similar privilege provided by existing law. PPA and Shipping lines ignore the privilege and deprive this sector of fare discount.

There has to be a special lane for senior citizens for their convenience and comfort during the queue in buying fare tickets and PPA terminal fees at the passenger terminal building or PTB. But PPA management has not yet thought of providing such queue lane.

Some outbound passengers for Basilan are left behind daily unable to catch the trip for Isabela City due to rigidity in the process of imposing MARINA policy “NO TICKET NO BOARDING” on vessels. Passengers at the PTB are required to buy ship fare ticket first, then show the ticket to PPA booth collector for the P11.00 terminal fee.

Usually, Basilan-bound passengers enter the PTB few minutes before departure of ferry vessels to the island of Basilan. For convenience and to avoid delay in baggage or personal belongings inspection by PPA-hired personnel, it is indispensable the electronic x-ray machine must be reinstalled but management simply give less priority in its installation, it focuses on the collection of terminal fees and implementation of a faulty passenger departure system.

The operation of seaport with passenger terminal building is not in its entirety similar to the management and system of the airport. The commercial aircrafts or airplanes have prescribed load limits on travelling passengers. Overloading is strictly imposed, baggages are properly accounted for and hand-carried items have limits requisites.

PPA should address the delay in the departure of Basilan-bound passengers. Flexibility in the imposition of “No Ticket-No Boarding” policy of the Maritime Industry Authority or MARINA should be made or adopted in the light of extending convenience and comfort to outbound passengers for Basilan.

Vessels plying Basilan-Zamboanga City sea route stays for an hour or some more minutes in the designated berth area and are waiting for boarding outbound passengers before final clearance to sail is granted by the PCG.

The Philippine Coast Guard implements the Safety of Life at Sea requirement (SOLAS). There are times vessel departure on schedule time delayed due to excess passengers. But the delay could be avoided through systematic process and compliance of sea travel by shipping lines.

On the management and to keep the passenger terminal building retains its majestic look, vacant rooms or those that are leased for payment by other entities should be clean and orderly. Other government offices that are not paying room rentals should be relocated outside the PTB.

There are rooms not functional, they can be converted for appropriate and reasonable purpose. The PTB is not a playground for small kids, space occupied by the entertainment facilities should be discouraged.

Gender and Development room should be used as first aid convenience room. It should be used as rest room for VIP’s or PPA visitors from other ports. Steel chairs should not be used by passengers as sleeping bed.

Badjaos are not regular passengers travelling daily. These indigenous tribe do not observe proper hygiene and sanitation, they scattered their leftovers after having their meals and rest or relax as they wish.

They don’t understand English language, it is difficult to communicate with them as they do not know how to read and write. Their stay at the PTB is seasonal as they are just passing by on their way either home or mendicancy expedition to other cities like Metro Manila and Cebu.

The are still many ways for improvement in the management of the PTB. There should be no barriers on outbound passengers since they pay the same P11.00 terminal fee. Foreign or Sandakan bound passengers should be segregated from domestic passengers. They should, what I mean, foreign bound passengers, clear themselves first outside the PTB area, and once cleared from such requirement, then allowed to enter the designated area for foreign-bound passengers.

The hustle of so many government agencies in the ploy of performing duties on inspection should not be made inside the passenger seating area. There are available space area before getting inside the rest or seat area, the inspection may be undertaken on the area outside.

The PTB supervisor should be visible everyday and supervision work being undertaken. A representation with higher management hierarchy to designate assistant PTB supervisors to take over the task of supervision in case the PTB supervisor is not around or on leave of absence and official travel.

The foregoing observations are not criticisms but simply constructive eye-opener from someone who has left PPA for good after nearly three decades service with this government corporation. Take it or leave it. OK AND GODSPEED.

SCOOP: PPA should look into the feasibility of rerouting the entry of non-cargo vehicles through Corcuera gate and relocate all Habal-habal motorcycles outside the port complex and shuttle vehicle service in front of PTB near the Coast Guard office to provide wide latitude and free flow of incoming and outgoing Basilan passengers.

The presence of several non-cargo vehicles and motorcycles become an obstruction and contribute to congestion during arrival of Jolo-bound vessels at the marginal pier.

May I invite the attention of the PTB Manager to comment on this feedback. Madam, this one on us, please.




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